STEVE Clarke is delighted Steven Reid decided not to hang up his boots in the summer – knowing he can count on him in Monday’s derby date with Villa (ko 8pm).
The 32-year-old had an injury-disrupted start to the season and had to watch Billy Jones make the right-back spot his own until he suffered a hamstring problem against Crystal Palace.
Reid replaced him for his first Barclays Premier League appearance of the campaign in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea almost a fortnight ago and got through the entire game with no problems.
“It was good for Steven to get back into the team,” said Clarke.
“It shows that he's worked well.
“He hasn't had much chance to get back into the team because of the form of Billy Jones but the way he's looked after himself is a credit to him because he came in and played 97 minutes no problem.”
He added: “I had a couple of good chats with Steven over the summer and, in my opinion, he made the right decision to carry on.
“He's got good attributes. I spoke about them last year - he's a 'Man'.
“The more men you can have like that around your dressing room, the better.
He's good around the place, even when he's not involved in the games.
“It's good to have him here.
It's nice he got a chance to play - he showed he can still play a bit as well.”
The Albion head coach is in no doubt can make it as a coach – but insists he still has plenty more to offer as a player.
“I know he's taking his coaching badges. He seems to enjoy it - he's done a little bit of work with the younger boys here,” he said.
“He enjoys coaching, it's something he's got in mind for the future but, for now, he has to concentrate on the day to day jobs of being a footballer.
“If he can add bits of the coaching courses, and gain a bit of knowledge that way, then that's fine.
“He should - and I think he showed in the last game what he can still do as a player and that's important.”